Improving your exercise routine and meeting your nutritional needs takes some time and planning. Getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet are the two main factors in living a healthy and fit life.Â You control your weight by the number of calories you take in and burn off each day.Â If you are not careful when and what you eat, it may be hard to draw the line between losing and/or maintaining weight and not getting enough calories for your body to perform at its best.Â Did you know how you eat before and after your workout can determine if calories are used for energy or stored (as fat) for later use?Â The following information can help you ensure you are getting the right amount of food and fluids at the right time.
Pre-Exercise Nutritional Needs
The key to a good workout is making sure you have enough energy to sustain the activities included in your exercise routine.Â While there are no hard and fast rules as to what you should and shouldn’t eat, it is necessary for everyone to remain properly hydrated before, during and after exercise.Â For this reason you should make sure you drink at least 16 ounces of water one to two hours before you begin your workout.Â As for food intake, that varies by person and exercise requirements.Â You should learn to recognize the signs if you need to eat first or if you have enough energy to carry you through.Â Avoid working out while hungry, not only will it effect your physical performance but also your ability to focus on your routine.Â If you do eat before a workout make sure you do not overdo it, which will likely make you feel less motivated to get moving versus giving you the pick-me-up you are seeking.Â Try the following pre-exercise snacks to get the right amount of energy without weighing you down (pun intended).Â You should consume these snacks anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour prior to exercise.
Â Energy bars
Â Sports drinks
Â Fruit or fruit smoothies (try pineapple, banana, mango or watermelon)
Â Whole grain crackers
Â Vegetable juice
Â Raw veggies
Â Hard boiled eggs
Post-Exercise Nutritional Needs.
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It stands to reason just as some people need energy to get moving before their workout, other individuals also need to eat after a workout to make up for energy burned.Â Just as you needed to get hydrated prior to working out you must also pay attention to ensure you drink enough water during and after your workout to avoid dehydration.Â This is particularly true if you have a strenuous workout or tend to sweat a lot during exercise.Â When it comes to post-exercise nutritional needs, you should wait at least 30 minutes to two hours before eating after a workout to give you body a change to cool down and get back to a resting state.Â It is common for many people to feel they are now able to eat whatever they choose as a “reward” for working out.Â This mentality will only serve to undo all your hard work.Â This is not to say you should be overly obsessive about what you eat, but understand that just because you work out doesn’t mean it’s time to hit the all night buffet.Â With that in mind here are a few things to consider when eating after exercise.
Â You don’t necessarily have to worry about calories as long as you are staying within the recommended range for your goals (weight loss or maintenance).Â Eating after exercise while it shouldn’t be a free for all, should also not be limited due to concern over undoing what you just accomplished.
Â The best time to eat what normally is on the “do-no-eat” list of carbohydrates is after working out.Â Again, everything in moderation is the key.
Â Be sure to include protein in your post-exercise snack/meal as it is needed to help repair and rebuild muscles and prevents your body from using your muscle tissue as fuel for energy.
Many of the same snacks that are good for you before you workout are also good as a post-exercise snack.Â For most people who exercise regularly knowing when and how much to eat becomes second nature.Â As long as you understand what your body needs and listen to your own body schedule you will quickly find out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to eating before and after exercise.
Tisha Kulak Tolar is a writer for Fit4EverYoung.com, where she writes about bodybuilding, exercise, general health and fitness, nutrition and supplements.
Grantee: Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury
Image by Connecticut Community Foundation The Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury, a grantee of Connecticut Community Foundation, provides a number of services to the Greater Waterbury community, including personal and individual support to developmentally disabled individuals at home, referral services and case management, advocacy, interpretation and translation, social services for families, and nutrition for older adults. Their case management program ensures that older adults within the Hispanic community have the necessary nutritional supplements and that their medical and prescription needs are met. They provide transportation to and from medical appointments. Grant funding for the Coalition is made possible through the Foundation’s East Hill Woods Fund. The Fund is dedicated to providing services for older adults living in the Foundation’s 21-town area. A portion of the fund is also designated to train and educate future managers of continuing care retirement communities. Learn more about Connecticut Community Foundation’s grant support for older adults at www.conncf.org/our-focus/community-engagement/pathways/
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